BE HONEST— HAVEN’T WE ALL DONE THIS?
A few days ago, the New York Times journalist Lindsay Crouse released a fascinating new piece about her ex-boyfriend, specifically about who he’s dating. Spoiler alert: it’s LADY GAGA!
Crouse talks about the comparison dance so many of us do when our ex has moved on. She writes, “If you’ve ever googled an ex’s new partner (be honest) you’ve probably played a certain game with yourself. You’re either just curious — which is healthy of you — or you want to know how you compare. Ideally the ex’s life didn’t improve too much without you? In this case, though, that’s all upended. How do you compare yourself with Lady Gaga?”
It reminded me of all the times I’ve played this game; times when I’d stalk my ex’s Instagram, tap through photos, being extra careful to not double tap ANYTHING (you know the terror). Times I’d judge the new girl, or worse, make fun of her with my close friends. Or times when I’d do all of this, on an idle Tuesday, for no damn good reason, other than a little voice in my head pushing me to snoop.
I even occasionally have weird thoughts about my husband’s ex—whom I’ve never met or ever had issues with. And yet still, every couple of years, I have questions: Is she happy? Does she have a new boyfriend? Does she think about my husband sometimes? What was her side in the collapse of their relationship?
Are we really just nosey snoops? Or are we snooping to compare ourselves and our relationships? It’s a fine line, I guess. For me personally, while I definitely used to compare myself pre-marriage, my intentions now stem more from curiosity. I spent almost a third of my life with my ex, so it’s only natural that once a year questions arise: Is he happy? What do he and his wife argue about? Does she ever wonder about me? Is he a good father?
When these thoughts occur, I’m reminded of Crouse’s ending, which left a big imprint on me. She writes, “Recently someone sent me a photo of my fiancé and me dancing at a wedding, and I posted it on Instagram. I saw Lady Gaga’s boyfriend in the views, and I realized we’re actually all the same: strangers, smiling on a screen.”
We’re all just curious beings at the end of the day, so if I have questions, then I’m sure he does too. We’re distant strangers who once knew each other intimately, and I know I’m wishing him well from afar.